Angola Navy - Modernization
Since 2005 it is known that high-ranking members of the Angolan military leadership and managers of German armaments companies had visited each other and discussed contracts valued in the billions. In 2006 Angola reportedly agreed to the purchase of corvettes with the managers of the company Blohm & Voss, a subsidiary of the German arms manufacturer ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS), Germany's main warship-building company. An offer for the sale of corvettes worth over 700 million dollars was submitted to the head of the Military Office of the Angolan President's Office, General Manuel Hélder Vieira Dias.
Former Rear Admiral Johnny Kamerman, who was project director of the South African corvette acquisition programme, features prominently in a probe by the Dusseldorf Prosecutors office. Kamerman had been suddenly appointed vice-president of sales at TKMS while apparently still in Germany, where he was posted by the South African Navy to manage the corvette handover in the South African deal. In November 2006 Kamerman hosted an Angolan delegation’s visit to the Blohm & Voss shipyards of TKMS in Hamburg and a lunch for the Angolan ambassador to Germany, General Alberto ‘Kabulo” Ribeiro. Ribeiro is considered to be close to the powerful Angolan minister for military affairs, General Manuel Hélder Vieira Dias ‘Kopelipa”.
By late 2007 TKMS was probed by the German police on corruption charges in connection with a tender for an Angolan requirement of "one corvette and three coast guard ships" worth some 750 million euro (US$ 1.1 billion dollars). The weekly magazine Der Spiegel reported TKMS offices had been searched by police in Hamburg and Essen on 19 December 2007. The deal had been initiated by the Angolan military with a letter of intent on February 22, 2006. Executives were being investigated over claims that they offered kickbacks in Angola for the order. No ship order was actually placed. The Guardian and Sentinel OPVs were presented by TKMS at MECON 2006, and were the only OPVs in TKMS' portfolio at that time. The corvette is supposed to be a MEKO A 200. According to "Der Spiegel" No. 07/2008 the corvette's price tag is about 290 million and the same amount of money for the three other vessels together.
In March 2009 it was reported that the Lürssen shipyard had made ??an offer for the supply of four frigates and three corvettes worth 800 million US dollars. According to a German government spokesman, Berlin intended to help the government to modernize their Navy. The Lürssen shipyard in Bremen had mad an offer for corvettes and Patrol boats made. The federal government would issued for the export control regulatory approval, the spokesman said. A contract between the shipyard and the government in Angola'm was still pending.
In July 2011 Candido Mendes of Bloomberg reported that Angola President Jose Eduardo dos Santos said Germany planned to sell patrol ships to the Angolan navy to help it modernize its fleet and enable it to protect its maritime borders. “We received this proposal now, the discussions have started,” Dos Santos told reporters 13 July 2011 in the capital, Luanda. The country isn’t “locked” to its “traditional” supppliers of equipment for its air force, ground troops and navy and there can be “an opening” for new ones, Dos Santos said. Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos visited Germany in February 2009, where he was expected to sign an $800 million deal to buy three navy vessels, the Luanda newspaper Novo Jornal media reported. But nothing came of this visit.
Visiting Angola in July 2011, German Chancellor Angela Merkel promised the sale of patrol boats [built by the Bremen Luerssen shipyards] in a bid to boost ties with the resource-rich country. Back in Germany, the deal sparked fierce parliamentary criticism. German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced on Wednesday that Germany was prepared to sell six to eight patrol boats to Angola as part of an international cooperation deal. "Every country needs to secure its own borders," Merkel said when defending the exchange. "I think what we have here is not about a build up of armaments, but border security boats."
The Angolan president said he would consider the offer. She reminded him of the many offshore oil platforms that are largely unprotected. "We would also like to help you with your defense efforts, such as upgrading your navy," Merkel said at an economic conference in the Angolan capital Luanda. Specifically, she was talking about patrol boats for the Angolan coast guard, at €10 million to €25 million apiece.
Although the offer had already been sanctioned by the previous government, members of the center-left opposition were quick to voice their concerns. Claudia Roth, the head of the Greens, described it as a bad move, coming days after the controversial decision to sell battle tanks to Saudi Arabia, calling Merkel the "patron saint of the arms lobby." And Rolf Muetzenich from the SPD parliamentary group alluded to Germany's concern over Angola's human rights record, saying "Angola is not an exemplary democracy." During this visit, Merkel and dos Santos agreed on a 'strategic partnership.' But progress was slow, and by 2013 Germany was still only a minor player in Angola.
The Angolan Navy will receive seven Macae-class patrol boats from Brazil. Four of these will be built in Brazil and the other three in Angola. There have also been rumors that the navy plans to acquire a second-hand aircraft carrier from Spain or Italy.
Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries
Damen Shipyards Galati built the Ngola Kiluange, a Fishery Inspection Surveillance Vessel (FISV) 6210, for the Angolan Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries. With another two ships under construction, the Angolan government was set to strengthen its knowledge of and control over its rich fishing grounds.
The spectators at Damen’s Romania based Galati Shipyard were treated to a moment of suspense in December 2011 when the 62 m Nngola Kiluange sharply heeled over at her launch. As people drew their breath it elegantly sprang back, keeping her balance perfectly. The Angolan Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries purchased the slender multipurpose vessel. Another vessel of this type is currently under construction at the Galati Shipyard, as is a smaller, 28 m long Fishery Research Vessel (an Damen FRV 2810), also commissioned by the Angolan Ministry. The threefold order has materialised under a unique collaboration of Damen Shipyards, the Dutch Government and ING Bank. The latter two co-financed the project.
Given the exclusive economic zone at West-Africa’s Atlantic coast, holding vast and rich fishing grounds, the acquisition of these vessels represents a real opportunity for the Angolan Ministry. The fishing sector is one of Angola’s largest economic sectors and its territorial waters are extremely alluring for illegal fishing. Under a SADC regional programme the country collaborates with Namibia and South Africa to protect and survey the fishing grounds. The FISV Ngola Kiluange can also be brought into action for salvaging and various other jobs. Damen has a long and proven experience in building hydrographic research vessels. Their standardised system allows them to meet with every requirement in terms of hull shape, sensor suite, systems and regulations. “Imagine the versatility of these vessels”, says Friso Visser, Regional Director Africa.
The deal was struck under a currently discontinued program of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, called ORET, which supported sustainable investment in infrastructural projects in developing countries. Regulations for such deals were very strict, contemplates Friso Visser. “We really had to explain the Dutch mania for organisation to our Angolan counterparts. Fortunately, our relationship goes back a long way and we intend to deepen it even further.”
The ORET program regulated Dutch-Angolan co-operation within a clear institutional framework. Education, training and building financial reserves for maintenance and replacement were all compulsory parts of the deal. Some of these requirements are also part and parcel of the Damen philosophy. The delivery of spare parts is customary, training and education are regularly given, and special vessel maintenance programs can be obtained. Damen Shipyards Cape Town provides the necessary services. Thus the slogan ‘Africa for Africa’ truly exceeds its verbal expression.
After launching the Ngola Kiluange in December 2011, the Nzinga Mbandi was launched 12 April 2012 at Damen Shipyards Galati (Romania). This is the second Fishery Inspection Surveillance Vessel (FISV) 6210 that Damen is building for the Angolan Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries. A third and smaller Fishery Research Vessel (a Damen FRV 2810) is also commissioned by the Angolan Ministry. The FISVs will be used to strengthen Angola’s knowledge of and control over its rich fishing grounds and to counter illegal fishing activities. Under a regional programme of the SADC (Southern African Development Community), Angola collaborates with Namibia and South Africa to protect and survey the fishing grounds. Damen has a long and proven experience in building hydrographic research vessels. Damen’s focus on standardised shipbuilding in combination with ongoing (scientific) research allows the company to meet with every requirement in terms of hull shape, sensor suite, systems and regulations. In addition, the delivery of spare parts is customary, training and education are regularly given, and special vessel maintenance programs can be obtained. These services are provided by a network of Damen Services hubs, one of which is integrated in Damen Shipyards Cape Town (South Africa).
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